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POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

Q & A With January Angeles on This Week’s Health Care Milestone

| By CBPP
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CBPP

Today, we sat down with January Angeles, health policy analyst, to discuss an important milestone for the health reform law that takes place this week. January, this coming September 23rd marks the six month anniversary of when the health care bill was signed into law. Why is this a significant anniversary?
September 23rd is an important date because a number of key provisions of the health reform law take effect. There are two provisions, in particular, that will bring important benefits to millions of Americans: The first is access to preventive health care services, and the second is a coverage expansion for young adults.
Let’s start with preventive care. What changes will people see?
Starting this Thursday, when an insurance company begins a new “plan year,” it has to cover preventive care services at no charge. Preventive care includes screenings for chronic illnesses like diabetes and cancer, routine vaccines for adults and children, and other recommended care for kids, such as regular doctor visits. The Administration estimates that about 41 million people will be enrolled in plans subject to the new rules in 2011.
What about the coverage expansion for young adults? How will they be affected?
Starting this Thursday, when an insurance company begins a new “plan year,” insurers and employers that offer dependent coverage must allow parents to include children on their insurance plans up until their children’s 26th birthday. Young adults whose parents get insurance through an employer will generally be eligible for this coverage as long as they don’t have access to job-based coverage of their own. That’s an important change, because right now many insurance companies and employers don’t allow employees to add their children to their plan once they turn 19 or if they fail to meet other criteria, such as being a full-time student or living with the parent. More than one million young adults will gain coverage through this new rule in 2011, according to government estimates.
What’s the bottom line, January?
This Thursday marks a major milestone for health care reform. The new provisions that will take affect will help millions of people access care and stay healthy. And, there are many more good things to come in the months and years ahead.
You can download a podcast of this conversation here or on iTunes.